The Franklin High School Rose Princess candidates Sariah Albers (left), Abigail Crowe (middle), and Scarlett Judson (right). Abigail Crowe will represent Franklin as she joins the 2023 Rose Festival Court. Photo by Everette Cogswell

Abigail Crowe is officially representing Franklin High School on the 2023 Rose Festival Court. On Wednesday, March 8, students and media gathered in the Franklin auditorium to attend the announcement ceremony and congratulate Abigail as she accepted her position to serve on the court. 

This year, Franklin High School had three candidates for Rose Princess: Abigail Crowe (12), Scarlett Judson (12), and Sariah Albers (11). On Wednesday, March 1, Franklin students voted on which princess they wanted to represent Franklin on the court. This process has been a part of The Rose Festival for over a century. 

The Rose Festival has been a part of Portland’s history since 1907. It is a civic festival typically held in June, and is organized by the Portland Rose Festival Association. The festival brings parades, carnival rides, art shows, dragon boat races, fun runs, and many more activities. While the festivities don’t begin until June, preparation is already taking place; one of the ways being the Rose Festival Court.

The Rose Festival Court consists of up to 15 students chosen from Portland-Metro area high schools. The Court provides many opportunities such as networking, media training, community outreach, scholarships for higher education, and public speaking. Each high school in the Portland-Metro area is able to have four candidates representing their school, and between late February and early March, one princess from each school will be chosen to represent their school on the official court. 

Court applicants are interviewed by a panel of judges and are asked to present a speech. Their speeches and interviews are judged on a variety of things: character, communication skills, presence, and the school vote. The princesses are given a total score; the first three categories (50 percent of their score) come from a panel of judges, and the second half of their score comes from the school vote. There are many factors that go into the score a candidate receives to become princess, it’s not just a popularity contest. After a princess is picked from each school, they move into a process where a Rose Festival Queen is crowned. “The Rose festival will give us an envelope saying who our princess is … once that happens, then the school’s responsibility in the process ends,” said Scott Burns, the vice principal of Franklin High School. “How you go from Rose Festival Princess to Queen is something the Rose Festival organization completely takes over.”

The process for the princess candidates is a lot of work; they have to go through interviews, speeches, video introductions and much more. “There’s a lot of support with the team. It’s been pretty stressful because it’s a lot of work. But overall, I think it’s been a pretty fun experience,” Albers said. 

The princess candidates all have chances to get to know each other before a final princess is chosen. “I think all of the other candidates that we met from other schools seemed really nice … and their person who reaches out has been super responsive and very detailed,” Judson added. 

The Franklin community, along with all other high schools in the Portland-Metro area, have been involved in the Court for over 100 years. “My freshman year when the Rose Princesses were running, I remember feeling super inspired seeing them up on the videos, seeing how involved they were, and seeing how they had become such meaningful leaders in the Franklin community,” Crowe stated. Rose Princesses have served as an inspiration for decades and are a sacred tradition within the festival. 

The 2023 Portland Rose Festival will begin on May 24, 2023 and will end on June 11, 2023. If you are interested in running for the festival court, you can find more information on rosefestival.org.

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